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Council to plan the future of Turlock
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It's time for some long term planning, says Turlock City Hall.
The Turlock City Council will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday, before their regularly scheduled 7 p.m. meeting, to revisit a strategic plan which will guide the city through 2013.
The Turlock City Council first worked on the plan in March, attempting to update a strategic plan document which had not been examined since 2007, and had expired in 2009. Turlock had planned to continue work on the plan in April, but that meeting was scuttled.
Council members will at long last take back up the issue Tuesday, discussing policy initiatives intended to make the City of Turlock more proactive.
The plan will also ensure Turlock remains lean but effective, with a balanced budget, per City Manager Roy Wasden's comments in March. At that time, council discussed new fees, new partnerships with the university, and cost-savings measures such as integrating Turlock Police and Turlock Fire's administrative services - a consolidation effort already undertaken to cut costs for the 2011-12 budget.

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
• Adopt a nonbinding resolution to retain the city's Redevelopment Agency, paying the state a large, one-time fee to do so. The action will not require Turlock to make the payment and retain its RDA, but will leave the option open.
The State Legislature called for the closure of all such agencies statewide as part of the budget process, redirecting all agency funding to the state's coffers. An alternative allows agencies to remain open, if they pay the state a large one-time fee and subsequent yearly payments.
Turlock's first payment is anticipated to be between $3.2 million and $1.6 million, with annual payments between $300,000 and $500,000.
The law requiring RDA closure still faces legal challenges, and is currently before the Supreme Court. A court decision is expected before Jan. 15, 2012.
• Enter into an agreement with the Cities of Modesto and Ceres to investigate constructing a regional surface water treatment plant. The long-discussed project, dating back to 2005, has been postponed several times due to the high cost of such a development.
The City of Turlock had planned to enter into the agreement on Aug. 23 with the City of Hughson also participating in the project. Since then, the cash-strapped City of Hughson has withdrawn from the project.
• Change the name of Turlock's industrial park from Westside Industrial Specific Plan to Turlock Regional Industrial Park. The name change, drafted by a committee of business people and city staff and approved by the Planning Commission, is intended to better identify the park and to attract more customers.
• Authorize repairs to Turlock's wastewater treatment plant. A flotation clarifier and a digestor are out of service due to mechanical issues, impacting Turlock's ability to address wastewater. Repair costs will total more than $400,000.
• Purchase 19 new patrol cars for the Turlock Police Department, at a cost of $510,225. The 2011 Ford Crown Victorias are projected to meet the department's replacement needs through 2014.
Purchasing the vehicles now, rather than waiting until replacement is absolutely needed, is projected to save Turlock money as the Crown Victoria is being discontinued and current department equipment is specially made to fit in that model of car. If Turlock waits, it would need to buy new equipment as well.
• Receive a briefing from the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, and updates on affordable housing programs, state storm water regulations, and the moving of Housing Program Services and Parks, Recreation & Public facilities.
• Apply to the State of California for a grant to aid with costs related to drafting a regional water management plan. Such a plan would allow Turlock and surrounding communities to apply for state water funds, which could offset costs of a planned surface water treatment plant or a water recycling facility.

The Turlock City Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. A special strategic planning meeting will precede the regular meeting, beginning at 5 p.m.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.